Living Sustainably: Holland group boosts plant-based food options

By Rebecca Bochenek, Veg Lakeshore
Are you looking to improve your health or help save the planet? The plant-based movement is thriving and building steam in Holland and West Michigan.
A few years ago, when you went out to eat, your plant-based food options may have been limited to a baked potato, salad, or soup. Now, more restaurants are adding menu items such as jackfruit tacos, black bean burgers, hippie hash, vegan baked goods, non-dairy milk options, fresh juices and much more.
And what about all these massive storms, heat waves, fires, and so on that are consuming the United States? Climate change is real, and humans can change that course. You have the power to help by what you are putting on your plate!

Eating a vegetarian meal one day a week could save the equivalent in greenhouse gases of 1,160 miles driving, according to a fact sheet from the University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems.
Meat products have much larger carbon footprints per calorie than grains or vegetables because of the inefficient transformation of plant energy to animal energy. For example, 47.6 percent of the greenhouse gases from food consumption come from meat, compared to 4.9 percent from vegetables, 3.6 percent from fruit and 3 percent from grains. A four-ounce serving of meat generates about 6.5 pounds of carbon dioxide compared to a small fraction of a pound per serving of rice, legumes, carrots or potatoes.
A local group has organized to help both your and the planet’s health. Veg Lakeshore started in September, 2013 when Mary Jackson moved to Holland and realized a need to promote healthy plant-based practices. She, Rebecca Bochenek, and Debra Williamson formed a meetup group which held potlucks, tabled at local events and visited local chefs to encourage vegan/vegetarian options on menus.
In the past five years, the group has built a network of members throughout West Michigan who are searching for a more sustainable, ethical and healthy way to live. The mission is to connect people and network with businesses to build a more compassionate, healthy community.
Events include Meatless Mondays at Nuestra Casa, a community house of Westcore Neighbors. At each potluck, a speaker presents a 30-minute talk on topics ranging from climate change and composting to gardening or recycling. And owners of businesses come in to discuss their veg friendly products.
We encourage all ages and appetites to attend. Each month has a theme such as Dutch Delights, Local/Seasonal, or Plantsgiving. Everyone is encouraged to bring a recipe for those with food intolerances or who practice a certain way of eating.
This month’s event is a Dunton Park picnic tomorrow, at 5:45 p.m. Monday, July 16. Bring a vegan or vegetarian dish with recipe. Check out the Events link at the Veg Lakeshore Facebook page for more information.
Also, a monthly Grapevine newsletter includes information about our Meatless Monday potluck, farmers market directory and a Vegan/Vegetarian Resource that includes menu items for many restaurants in the area. Email veglakeshore@gmail.com to be added to our Grapevine mailing.
 Rebecca Bochenek is Veg Lakeshore co-founder/organizer, a plant-based chef, and animal advocate.

More Online:
For a detailed list of vegan and vegetarian-friendly offerings at area dining establishments, click on “Our Story” on the Lakeshore Veg Facebook page.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Environmental Awareness/Action: Environmental education and integrating environmental practices into our planning will change negative outcomes of the past and improve our future.

ABOUT THIS SERIES
Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to www.hope.edu/sustainability-institute for more information.

Living Sustainably: Celebrate Your Watershed at this year’s Water Festival

By Ashley Van Zee, Outdoor Discovery Center
It’s time to celebrate your watershed!
Yes, we all live in a watershed. If you live in the Holland and Zeeland area, you live in the Macatawa watershed. A watershed is an area of land that drains into a certain stream, river, or lake. It’s like a bathtub – all the water flows towards lowest spot.
On Saturday, July 14, the Macatawa Water Festival, presented by Meijer, will be back for its fourth year on Holland’s Windmill Island. This free family-friendly event is designed to help people of all ages learn about – and learn how to protect – two of our precious community resources: Lake Macatawa and the Macatawa watershed.
The festival will feature hands-on activities and educational exhibits from more than two dozen local partners for people of all ages.
Every young explorer will receive a Watershed Passport. They will receive passport stamps as they learn from various vendors and participate in activities. Once their passport is complete, they can turn it in for a prize.
Here are five more reasons to attend the 2018 Macatawa Water Festival:
1. More than 25 hands-on activities for attendees of all ages.
2. Ride in a voyageur canoe, bike or paddle a kayak around Windmill Island.
3. Fish for trout, have it filleted and take it home for dinner.
4. Build a rain barrel or wood duck nest box for a small fee (register online at outdoordiscovery.org)
5. Great fun and a free way for the whole family to unplug and get outdoors.

Outdoor Discovery Center

 Ashley Van Zee is the community outreach coordinator at the Outdoor Discovery Center and helps manage volunteers at the Water Festival. The Outdoor Discovery Center is a nonprofit organization focused on conservation and education with the mission of connecting people, land and nature.

What: Macatawa Water Festival
When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, July 14
Where: Windmill Island, Holland
Who: Free admission for all ages

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Community Knowledge: The collective knowledge and energy of the community is an incredible resource that must be channeled to where it is needed.

ABOUT THIS SERIES
Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to www.hope.edu/sustainability-institute for more information.

June 2018 Sustainability News

June 2018 Sustainability News

June 30, 2018 – Parks enrich children’s lives

June 30, 2018 – ‘Task force’ quietly planning James DeYoung vision process

June 30, 2018 – The Annual Macatawa Water Festival is right around the corner, Saturday, July 14!

June 30, 2018 – Trump claims Saudi Arabia will boost oil production

June 30, 2018 – What will become of the historic Park Township airport?

June 29, 2018 – Where you can be a kid again: Adult summer camps

June 29, 2018 – Gypsy moths are back, defoliating trees in West Michigan

June 29, 2018 – $6 Million in Bogus Organic Fruit Sold to U.S., Costa Rican Report Finds

June 28, 2018 – Letter: Community Kitchen set to reopen

June 28, 2018 – Migrant workers prove vital to local farming community

June 28, 2018 – Hundreds arrested in DC protesting Trump immigration policy

June 27, 2018 – Back-to-school readiness contributes to your child’s academic success

June 26, 2018 – 5 simple ways to green your business

June 26, 2018 – New ‘Smart Brick’ will aid in snowmelt efficiency

June 26, 2018 – Mental illness – one common language

June 25, 2018 – Living Sustainably:  Eating local – Food for thought

June 25, 2018 – Prudence Hilburn: You don’t need meat to have a complete meal

June 25, 2018 – Target, Tesco, CVS to Require Environmental Impact Data from Suppliers through CDP

June 24, 2018 – Hope science camps challenge young minds

June 24, 2018 – Canoeing in the wilderness of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters

June 22, 2018 – Study shows business case for racial equity:  Report finds Michigan can gain $92 billion in economic output by 2050 if racial disparities are eliminated

June 22, 2018 – OPEC countries to pump more oil to contain price increase

June 22, 2018 – West Michigan companies rate as ‘Best for the World’

June 22, 2018 – Are Certificates of Deposit Worth It Right Now?

June 21, 2018 – Cities at the Crossroads of Consumption and Sustainability

June 21, 2018 – Small businesses and the benefits of conscious capitalism

June 21, 2018 – Trump scraps Obama policy on protecting oceans, Great Lakes

June 21, 2018 – Holland Police ice cream truck rolling out for second season

June 21, 2018 – Looking to the long term, UPS boosts fleet with CNG trucks

June 20, 2018 – Volunteers wanted for Holland State Park clean-up day

June 20, 2018 – Hamilton schools pass surplus budget

June 19, 2018 – Living Sustainably:  Food projects help share the summer bounty

June 19, 2018 – U.S. Announces Its Withdrawal From U.N. Human Rights Council

June 19, 2018 – Has Environmental Sustainability Lost its Relevance?

June 19, 2018 – More Travel Providers Boost Sustainability Initiatives

June 19, 2018 – WO set to have enrollment drops, some deficits in 2018-19

June 19, 2018 – Donate school supplies, food pantry items to Stuff the Bus events

June 18, 2018 – Flooding from sea level rise threatens over 300,000 US coastal homes – study

June 18, 2018 – El Niño watch issued: How it could seriously affect this storm season

June 17, 2018 – DeVos muddies debate: Education leader’s comments spark immigration worries, outrage

June 16, 2018 – Why many Americans aren’t benefiting from robust US economy

June 15, 2018 – Sidewalk repairs, youth employment coming with Holland’s CDBG funds

June 15, 2018 – Michigan enacts toughest lead rules in U.S. after Flint crisis

June 14, 2018 – At Summertime Jamboree, play cornhole, race cockroaches and more

June 13, 2018 – Drug, assault and sex offenses up in Ottawa County

June 12, 2018 – Charitable giving in US tops $400 billion for first time

June 11, 2018 – Living Sustainably:  Framework guides Holland’s sustainability efforts

June 7, 2018 – Yellowstone boss says Trump administration forcing him out

June 5, 2018 – Lawmakers, civil rights groups call for DeVos to set record straight on immigration, schools

June 5, 2018 – Local fruit farmers optimistic about upcoming season

June 5, 2018 – ‘Station Eleven’ picked for Big Read Lakeshore

June 4, 2018 – Living Sustainably:  Summer is time to spur kids’ natural curiosity

June 1, 2018 – Group challenges Nestle’s water permit from Michigan

June 1, 2018 – Home Help: How to attract hungry hummingbirds to your yard

June 1, 2018 – Nicolas Loris: (Opinion) Why gas prices are pumped up – and how we can lower them

June 1, 2018 – Holland State Park receives beach wheelchair donation from nonprofit Lori’s Voice

June 1, 2018 – Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth

Living Sustainably: Eating local: Food for thought

By Madison Ostrander, Hope College ’17 and Eighth Day Farm Intern

Food bought at a local CSA like Eighth Day Farm is direct from the farm and needs less packaging and transport than food imported to the area.

I spend my days interning on a farm in the middle of a parking lot learning about the intricacies and practices of urban farming. I’m a recent college graduate with a passion for food and an itch to learn more about agriculture, especially as it pertains to food justice, community development, and sustainability.
Through getting to know the farmers, sampling each flavor-bursting harvest, and becoming acquainted with our natural growing practices, I have been thoroughly convinced of the benefits of buying locally grown food or even starting a home garden.
Although many people experience barriers to buying local produce, such as work schedules, constrained budgets, and lack of growing space, it is my hope that sharing the following benefits and presenting doable alternatives will serve as motivating food for thought resulting in progressive change.
Aside from providing more irresistible summer salads and savory stir fries, supporting local growers also has profound health, environmental, and economic benefits.

Fresh, locally grown fruit like strawberries can be picked at a peak of ripeness and flavor.

Who can forget an unfortunate run-in with over-ripe or otherwise displeasing produce from a grocery store? Growing your own food or buying from local farmers has the exciting potential to relieve us from such disappointments.

In addition to improved quality, many believe consuming locally-grown food is better for your health. At larger farms, mechanical harvesting often precedes long transport to the grocery store. Some crops may not have been harvested at their peak ripeness, when they retain the most nutrients. Locally grown produce can be picked at peak ripeness, as it doesn’t need artificial ripening or the ability to withstand a cross-country road trip.
Those cross-country trips don’t only signal a longer wait time from the farm to your fork; they also damage the environment through greenhouse gas emissions. And local farmers can use less packaging than those supplying grocery stores. Note, for example, the unnecessarily plastic-wrapped cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, and so on.
The health of our bodies and environment is important, but so is that of our economy. Holland recognizes the importance of its small businesses, as our community values both their stories as well as their ability to stimulate Holland’s economy. Well, I suggest you buy local produce for the same reasons.
You can eat local in many ways: Holland is home to produce stands, Holland Farmers Market, CSAs, and community gardens.
The Holland Farmers Market is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tents stretch over flowers, baked goods, and of course, vibrant in-season produce. Bridge Cards also can be used.
Another option is joining a CSA, short for Community Supported Agriculture. In a CSA, members pay an annual fee in exchange for an abundance of seasonal produce and the opportunity to know their farmer.
Eating local is certainly food for thought.
 Madison Ostrander is an intern at Eighth Day Farm, a local urban farm focused on creation care and natural growing practices. A recent business and writing graduate from Hope College, she aspires to team her interest in writing with her passion for both wellness and sustainability in her future career.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Environmental Awareness/Action: Environmental education and integrating environmental practices into our planning will change negative outcomes of the past and improve our future.

ABOUT THIS SERIES
Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to www.hope.edu/sustainability-institute for more information.

Living Sustainably: Food projects help share the summer bounty

By Lisa Uganski, Ottawa Food
It’s summertime in West Michigan, which means it is time to enjoy the abundance of fresh, local fruits and vegetables. However, not everyone has access to the juicy strawberries, crisp asparagus, and tasty blueberries that are grown right here in our community.
The good news is that you can help provide local fresh fruits and vegetables to those in need by participating in one of the three following programs, while supporting your local growers at the same time.
1) Folks who love buying all that fresh produce at the Holland Farmers Market can keep on buying extra and share it through Ottawa Food’s Produce Donation Program.
On eight dates this summer at the market, a donation table will be set up that will be staffed by members of Ottawa Food from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Stop by and pick up a donation bag. When you’re finished shopping, bring your produce donation back to the table, and it will be distributed to those in need through local food resource agencies.
Produce donation is just one part of Ottawa Food’s campaign to provide local fresh fruits and vegetables to those in need.

2) Another opportunity to share the bounty is the Pick for Pantries program which allows U-pick patrons at participating Ottawa County produce farms to donate a portion of their pick to local food pantries.
You can head out to Visser Farm’s U-Pick Strawberry Patch, 7200 112th Ave., on June 19, 21 and 26 (weather permitting) to pick strawberries and help support local food pantries. Just grab a green bucket with the Ottawa Food logo and fill it up with as much as you would like to donate. Local food pantries will distribute the berries to families in need.
In July, Pick for Pantries will take place at Bowerman Blueberries and Crossroads Blueberries.  Ottawa Food is looking for a U-pick apple farm to participate in the fall. Visit Ottawa Food’s Facebook page for updates.
Ottawa Food3) A third way to provide fresh produce for others is to donate some of the goodies from your own garden to your local food pantry. Extra tomatoes? Lots of zucchini? Many people in this community would love an opportunity to enjoy those delicious items! Call your local pantry ahead of time to make sure they accept fresh produce and to find out when they are open.
Area food pantries include the following:

 Community Action House, Holland
 Salvation Army, Holland
 Harvest Stand Ministries, Zeeland
 Harvest Bible Chapel Food Pantry, West Olive

We are blessed to live in an area that produces such a wide variety of fresh and healthy food. We hope that you will consider participating in one of these programs to help share this abundance with those who otherwise might go without.
 Lisa Uganski is the coordinator of Ottawa Food, a collaboration of local agencies and individuals working to ensure that all Ottawa County residents have access to healthy, local, and affordable food choices. To get involved with Ottawa Food, visit www.OttawaFood.org for more information.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Quality of Life: The community, through governmental, religious, business and social organizations, makes decisions that contribute to its own well-being.

ABOUT THIS SERIES
Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to www.hope.edu/sustainability-institute for more information.

May 2018 Sustainability News

May 2018 Sustainability News

May 31, 2018 – Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth

May 31, 2018 – Group challenges Nestle’s water permit from Michigan

May 30, 2018 – Exhibit provides a look at ‘Industrial Nature’

May 30, 2018 – Lower temps at a lower price: How to improve the energy-efficiency of your home today

May 29, 2018 – Consumers Energy tags three peregrine chicks

May 29, 2018 – Hope, GVSU students named Beckman Scholars

May 28, 2018 – Living Sustainably:  New summer program will boost school readiness

May 28, 2018 – Europe plans ban on plastic cutlery, straws and more

May 28, 2018 – Easy and breezy: 6 tips for controlling summer cooling costs

May 26, 2018 – Ohio farmers reap frustration over multistate NEXUS pipeline construction

May 25, 2018 – Holland Town Center continues local growth

May 25, 2018 – Letter: Vote ‘yes’ on Saugatuck library millage

May 24, 2018 – Why are Dutch-Americans so different from the Dutch?

May 23, 2018 – A healthy diet isn’t always possible for low-income Americans, even when they get SNAP benefits

May 23, 2018 – Eating right and staying healthy in retirement

May 22, 2018 – Zeeland hospital achieves Healthgrades award

May 21, 2018 – Living Sustainably:  Bus ride to Farmers Market pays off in MAX Market Bucks

May 21, 2018 – 6 ways Walmart is helping change the world

May 20, 2018 – More West Michigan schools starting before Labor Day

May 18, 2018 – What Chinese import policies mean for all 50 states

May 18, 2018 – By ignoring sustainability reporting, the government is out of step with investors and corporations

May 17, 2018 – Two candidates remain in contention for MACC executive director position

May 17, 2018 – Separate food waste ‘offers massive CO2 saving’

May 16, 2018 – 13th Annual Ride of Silence in Holland

May 14, 2018 – Living Sustainably:  Green Commute Expo marks special week

May 14, 2018 – Preparing for a successful career in Michigan’s skilled trades

May 13, 2018 – Food for thought: Why aren’t there more food trucks in Holland?

May 7, 2018 – “Rethink, Reuse and Recycle” with Holland BPW during Tulip Time

May 5, 2018 – Tulip Time volunteers honor Holland’s history

May 5, 2018 – Holland police under fire after recorded felony traffic stop

May 4, 2018 – Former state senator, longtime environmental advocate Birkholz dies

May 4, 2018 – Fourth EPA Official Departs Pruitt’s Administration

May 4, 2018 – Dozens of wild horses found dead amid Southwest drought

May 4, 2018 – Fiesta returns to celebrate Latino culture

May 3, 2018 – How To Teach Kids To Love Nature In A Tech-Obsessed World

May 3, 2018 – Holland SmartZone brings in over $85,000 in 2017

May 2, 2018 – Holland council to approve city budget Wednesday

May 2, 2018 – Holland Harbor to be dredged in early May

May 2, 2018 – Palisades Power Plant to host community open house

May 2, 2018 – 18 states sue the Trump administration to defend clean car rules

May 1, 2018 – Robert Redford: The biggest Scott Pruitt scandal is the one right in front of us

May 1, 2018 – Tick and Mosquito Infections Spreading Rapidly, C.D.C. Finds

Living Sustainably: Bus ride to Farmers Market pays off in MAX Market Bucks

By Shelby Pedersen, Macatawa Area Express

A new program will offer $10 of MAX Market Bucks for riding the MAX bus to the Holland Farmers Market.

Holland Farmers Market shoppers will be able to double up their savings simply by riding the MAX bus to the market in June.

A new program will launch June 1 in which people who ride the bus to the market can earn MAX Market Bucks to redeem at market vendors. The program will run through June 30.

Many community members go to the Farmers Market every Wednesday and Saturday throughout the summer. Often, however, they experience busy traffic and limited parking because of how popular the Farmers Market is.

The popular Holland Farmers Market attracts crowds – and traffic congestion – on some of its busiest days.

An alternative is this new program that encourages everyone to use a green way to commute to the market and purchase farm fresh produce. Not only will this ease the troubles of parking and traffic, but riders will earn up to 10 Market Bucks and reduce their CO 2 emissions.

To join in the program, hop on the Route 3 MAX bus to get to the Farmers Market and receive a punch card. To get to the market, riders will get off at Eighth Street west of Maple. Buses stop there at three minutes after every hour.

Riders who get off at this stop will get their card punched by the MAX driver. Then, on the market grounds at the Market Office trailer, riders can get another punch and a reusable MAX bag.

After two trips on the MAX to the Farmers Market, riders will have earned 10 MAX Market Bucks!

Macatawa Area TransitThe MAX Market Bucks are redeemable through the Holland Farmers Market and are accepted by most vendors at the market.
MAX is excited to kick off this challenge to encourage local residents to participate in a greener transportation option. For any more information, reach out to MAX at (616)355-1010 and watch social media for more updates.

 Shelby Pedersen is the marketing assistant and ADA coordinator at the Macatawa Area Express. Go to www.catchamax.org/ for more information on routes and riding the bus.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Transportation: The movement of people, goods, and services within the area is an evolving system that links us to our regional, national and global networks.

ABOUT THIS SERIES
Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to www.hope.edu/sustainability-institute for more information.